JAMMU, Jan 16: The Cultural Diplomat of India to South Africa, Balwant Thakur launched his first publication ‘Gandhi in South Africa’ at the Consulate General of India, Johannesburg.
In connection with the celebrations of 150 years of Mahatama Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre Johannesburg published this rarest book which describes about 21 years of Mahtama Gandhi in South Africa. The most noteworthy feature of this book is that it has been designed to cater young readers and the entire narrative has been done in illustrative style.
Inspired by popular Indian Amar Chitra Katha format, this book is going to attract lot of younger readers. This experiment has been done deliberately to divert younger readers from electronic gadgets to reading habits. One hundred and six years ago, in June 1914, Mohandas Gandhi left South Africa for India, where fight for equality, the voice and path that changed the world.
People in South Africa say that India gave us Mohandas and we returned to you as Mahatma. The “disease of colour prejudice” as Gandhi called it, was brought home to him during a train journey to Johannesburg in 1893. Travelling on a first class ticket in a compartment, the young barrister was manhandled off the train in Pietermaritzburg after a white traveler complained about his presence.
This incident was the defining moment in his life. The moment he went from being a timid newly graduated barrister to becoming the thin older man of legend, in a homespun dhoti and shawl leading India towards independence from Britain.
Standing on the platform, his anger rising, he went from annoyance to indignation to making a life-changing decision. Forgiveness, as he would later say, was not his to give. In that moment, he was powerless but he could act to change his world, and the world.